COVID-19 Bivalent Booster Doses: What You Should Know

Bivalent vaccines are vaccines that target two different viruses or two strains of the same virus. The bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is an updated version of the COVID-19 vaccine that targets the original COVID-19 virus and the Omicron variant, which is currently the dominant variant in circulation in Ontario. Bivalent vaccines are now being administered as booster doses to eligible individuals (Ontario Ministry of Health, 2022).

Bivalent vaccines are formulated to better protect against the currently circulating COVID-19 variants. They can also help restore protection that has decreased since previous vaccination.

Who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 bivalent booster?

Adults aged 18 years and older are encouraged to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations and get a bivalent booster dose at a recommended interval of six months, or a minimum interval of three months, after their last dose.

Individuals at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness (people aged 65+, Indigenous peoples and their household members, residents of congregate settings, pregnant individuals, healthcare workers and people aged 12+ who are immunocompromised) are recommended to get a bivalent booster dose after the minimum three-month interval to ensure the best possible protection ahead of the respiratory illness season.

Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 are recommended to wait at least three months (84 days) after infection until receiving a booster; however, waiting six months (168 days) may provide a better immune response.

Adolescents aged 12-17 with an underlying medical condition that places them at high risk of severe COVID-19 may receive a bivalent booster dose off-label based on clinical discretion.

Where to get your COVID-19 Booster

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) is offering regular COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Marathon.Clinics are open to everyone aged 5 years and older for any dose they are eligible for, as long as they meet the dose interval eligibility.

The next COVID-19 community clinic will be offered on November 1st, 2022, from 2:00pm to 6:00pm. Appointments can be made by booking online using the Provincial COVID-19 Vaccine Booking System or by calling the provincial booking line at 1-833-943-3900. If you have problems booking online, call the Marathon public health branch office at 807-229-1820.

To access the Provincial Booking System, click here.

For more information about TBDHU’s community clinics, click here

COVID-19 bivalent boosters and the flu shot: should you get both? 

COVID-19 and influenza (the flu) are two very different respiratory viruses. The vaccine against COVID-19 will not protect against influenza. The vaccine against influenza will not protect against COVID-19. 

Individuals above 5 years of age can receive both COVID-19 and influenza vaccines at the same time or anytime before and after. Individuals 6 months to under 5 years of age are advised to wait 14 days between vaccinations.

For more information about COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccines, please visit the Ontario Ministry of Health’s website.

Your healthcare providers at the Marathon Family Health Team are also available to address your questions or concerns relating to COVID-19 vaccines and/or the flu shot. Please contact us by emailing [email protected] or calling 807-229-3243.